Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors

( 1 )


A Wildly Funny and Shockingly True Compendium of the Bad Boys (and Girls) of Western Literature

Rock stars, rappers, and actors haven't always had a monopoly on misbehaving. There was a time when authors fought with both words and fists, a time when poets were the ones living fast and dying young. This witty, insightful, and wildly entertaining narrative profiles the literary greats who wrote generation-defining classics such as The Great Gatsby and On the Road while living and ...

See more details below
$11.77 price
(Save 21%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $3.98   
  • Used (15) from $1.99   
Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99 price


A Wildly Funny and Shockingly True Compendium of the Bad Boys (and Girls) of Western Literature

Rock stars, rappers, and actors haven't always had a monopoly on misbehaving. There was a time when authors fought with both words and fists, a time when poets were the ones living fast and dying young. This witty, insightful, and wildly entertaining narrative profiles the literary greats who wrote generation-defining classics such as The Great Gatsby and On the Road while living and loving like hedonistic rock icons, who were as likely to go on epic benders as they were to hit the bestseller lists. Literary Rogues turns back the clock to consider these historical (and, in some cases, living) legends, including Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bret Easton Ellis. Brimming with fasci- nating research, Literary Rogues is part nostalgia, part literary analysis, and a wholly raucous celebration of brilliant writers and their occasionally troubled legacies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this rollicking romp through a gallery of writers whose genius came with a price (alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and other troubles), Shaffer (Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love) offers a terrific blend of literary history, biography, and witty commentary. With a breezy style full of pithy asides, Shaffer profiles a wide range of writers including the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Coleridge, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Dorothy Parker, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and James Frey, exposing both the exuberant and the dark sides of their notorious lives. Shaffer may playfully acknowledge an early romanticized admiration for his rock star writers and their decadent lifestyles, but he does, emphatically, note the grim aspects of their lives (early deaths, debilitating depression, crippling drug and alcohol dependency, dysfunctional relationships). The protagonists may have been self-destructive, but their exploits are always wildly entertaining, and their output is all the more miraculous for what they survived. As Shaffer observes, that these writers achieved anything in their addled states is remarkable. Agent: Brandi Bowles, Foundry Literary & Media. (Feb.)
New York Times Book Review
“‘Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love’ extends the schadenfreude to the boudoir.”
Martha Stewart Whole Living
“If you’re in dutch with your valentine, give him Andrew Shaffer’s book, which recounts the tortured love lives of 37 thinkers. Compared to them, you’ll look as saintly as St. Thomas himself—who, Shaffer tells us, once chased a prostitute out of his room with a hot poker.”
“This scandalous retelling is an entertaining yet bittersweet memorial to romantic self-destruction.”
Clancy Martin
“Indispensable advice for all lovers—and especially for those who think they should learn about the art of love from philosophers. A wonderful summary of the musings on love by some of history’s greatest and most idiosyncratic minds.”
“Remarkable. . . . Literary Rogues is far from a how-to, but it is strangely reassuring.”
New York Journal of Books
“Brilliantly chronicles both the excesses and triumphs of some of the most talented and notorious of them all. . . . A relevant examination of the creative personality.”
Kirkus Reviews
A quick-read biographical guide to literature's most notorious wastrels, scoundrels and rebels, from the Marquis de Sade to James Frey. Shaffer (Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, 2011) poses the initial question that gives this historical guide to authorial self-destruction its impetus: Why are popular writers today so dull and uncontroversial compared to the literary lions of the past? Though light on hard analysis, this compendium of the creative ways in which history's most lauded wordsmiths poisoned themselves is enjoyable enough. Shaffer achieves user-friendliness by reducing each of these literary masters to a sum of their worst qualities: Most notable are de Sade's twisted promiscuity, Lord Byron's freewheeling pansexuality and the absinthe-fueled jailbird misadventures of decadent poet Paul Verlaine. Shaffer provides a wide historical reach, as the opium-addled 18th-century romantics and diversely corrupted 19th-century English decadents give way to the 20th century's melancholic suicidal alcoholics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Shaffer also treats the Beats, New Journalists and Merry Pranksters of the 1950s and 1960s, who mixed in LSD, pot and heroin with the good old-fashioned alcoholism of their forebears. Schaffer's book loses its kick, however, when spotlighting the last three decades of relatively lame literary roguery: After being regaled with, for example, Lord Byron's life of "bling, booze, and groupie sex" and his dramatic death on a Greek battlefield, readers may not be impressed by Jay McInerney's penny-ante coke habits. Further, there's no speculation as to why, in an uncensored 21st-century culture where seemingly anything goes, most prominent writers now lead drearily sober lives. Entertaining and well-researched but facile pop history.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062077288
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 297
  • Sales rank: 448,114
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Shaffer is the author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love and, under the pen name Fanny Merkin, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. His writing has appeared in such diverse publications as Mental Floss and Maxim. An Iowa native, Shaffer lives in Lexington, Kentucky, a magical land of horses and bourbon.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2015

    A book for book lovers and those who don't read gossip the first time around.

    I don't follow celebrities. Their lives don't interest me. But this look back at authors and their substance abuse was funny, sad, and engaging. It made me want to revisit some of these classics and analyze them knowing a little more about what made the authors tick.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)